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spirituality

Tired, Keep Running…

Who is my neighbor?

“Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ ”Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:29-37

The parable in Luke 10:29-37, speaks to the heart and soul of humanity. I can only speculate why Jesus told this story in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” In the lesson a man is robbed and left for dead on the street. A series of people pass by as Jesus tells the story, a Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. The Priest and Levite cross the street but the Samaritan stops to help. There is a cultural tone in His choice of characters. The Priest was a religious leader, the Levite a generationally respected member of the society, and the Samaritan was perceived as culturally inferior and a social outcast. I took away from this lesson that being a good neighbor is not about being religious, it is about having empathy and helping others. It also teaches if I believe that my race or social status makes me better than you then I do not ‘see you’ nor care about you as I should. We each need to search ourselves to answer this question truthfully, “Who is my neighbor?”

Injustice For Some Or Justice For All?

We observe the painful living conditions of some in this world and if we have a heart, it breaks. The solutions seem daunting. Ellen Cranley wrote an article in the Business Insider, October 29, 2019 entitled, This Is What Poverty Looks Like In America Right Now. It highlighted an array of facts. Such as 40 million people in America live in poverty. Amazing. She also shares some of their stories. Some sleep in their cars, others live in shelters or temporary housing. Strikingly, many are working poor. In this moment when we are focusing on the injustices in our society, let’s commit ourselves to the divine gifts; hospitality and philanthropy.

Our fundamental core as a society must include kindness and compassion. We must measure success by ‘how many people we help or serve’ instead of how big is our bottom line. Every human being should have the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. I envision a socio-economic system that makes sharing the real power. In this social system everyone can have a good education, healthcare and economic prosperity (whatever that looks like for them). Full participation in our society will usher in growth economically and socially. This is not a fairytale, these are promises introduced to us in our Constitution. These concepts are articulated far better by Marianne Williamson than I. But I do believe in them.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Jesus’ lesson did not focus on the man’s brokenness rather He emphasized who in society had the solution. What a powerful repositioning of consciousness. He could have made the story about the crime which was the cause of the man’s condition but instead He rallied us around the solution. So awakened people, love one another and help each other. It starts in our hearts but it overflows into our society.

Being willing to stop and look (recognizing maybe I can help in some small way) is part of the solution. Cheryl Naomi Davis

When will things get back to normal?

We hear speeches, see marches, read blogs, and listen to passionate pleas for systemic changes. I like to think of these as opportunities to listen to one another and lift up humanity. One divinely awakened individual can change the world. I know this. I believe this. The one is you. I know it becomes tiring but keep walking. You may be surrounded by darkness but remember you are the light!

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spirituality

Coronavirus? SMH

Dr Oz admits he ‘misspoke’ after backlash on social media over his clumsy remark that reopening schools ‘may only cost us 2-3% in terms of total mortality.

When we hear someone respected say, ‘I misspoke’, it can be translated as, ‘so I didn’t mean it’. However when we speak unrestrained, we often say what we really feel. When I read this statement, it made me very sad. I thought to myself, am I hearing that there is an acceptable number of people who can die in our society of this virus? I thought of the parable about Jesus Christ and his lost sheep. He had one hundred sheep and in the story, he lost one. So he left the ninety-nine in search of the one who was lost. This parable teaches that we are all valuable and contribute to the whole. Whatever happened to ‘love thy neighbor’? Any number of deaths is unacceptable. Where does this thinking come from?

SMH

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:22

There has been so much unspeakable suffering on this planet, the universe has just had enough. Those of us who are called to be better. Those who are not afraid to look in the mirror. Those who in their inner sanctuary recognize, life is not solely about me, it is about my neighbor too.  We have an opportunity to grow and be better. I offer a prayer for all of us, “Lord have mercy and help us.”

This moment is an opportunity

In this moment of social distancing, we can create a better society. One that values each life. As I write this blog, two men have been arrested for killing a young African-American while he was jogging in his Georgia neighborhood. Those of us who are called to be love and light, it is time to shine so brightly that we will engulf hearts filled with hate. It is not by chance that senior citizens, people of color, and those with preexisting conditions are disproportionately dying from this virus. And while we search for reasons, why coronavirus? Where did it come from? How can we fight it? Will it ever go away? The true answer is, we may never know the answers. But we do know that these beautiful vulnerable souls are giving us in society the opportunity to connect, care, and love one another. We see them. Some we even recognize and know by name. I hear them entreating us to search our hearts and to be grateful when we find empathy. Your faces are also giving us the opportunity to repent when we carelessly find none.

One thing is for certain, if you and I live long enough, we will join the 2-3% of the vulnerable in our society. We must defend them now to assure our survival. Otherwise, I guarantee we will be someones misspoken truth in the future, discarded as an acceptable loss out of fear. Is anyone listening? SMH

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spirituality

This time. Last year

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)

I like this scripture. The writer is correct. I am the thinker. I choose what my mind will be thinking about. Thoughts are not placed in my mind randomly by some outside force. I choose. Wow! I choose. I choose to acknowledge sadness and pain or to fool myself into believing I am alright. This is empowering, isn’t it?

Last year around this time, I was going back and forth to the hospital with my mom. She had achieved her goal of walking. It had been a year since a horrible fall fractured her neck leaving her to live with quadriplegia. She was now able to use a walker though. A miracle at 80 years of age.

We were planning trips again and getting ready for renovations to the home to make it more wheel chair accessible when she was diagnosed with renal cancer. She had finished her first set of successful treatments when the cancer spread to her brain. She returned to be with God on March 29. It will soon be one year.

I have thought a lot about love and grief this past year. Grief seems to acknowledge something valuable has been lost while love on the other hand seems to not recognize that anything has changed at all. In fact, when I close my eyes, my love for this special lady fills me with happiness. I almost forget all that has happened but the sadness of grief always shows up to ground me. Don’t reach for that cellphone, she is not present anymore.

Love seems to have an eternal point of view, timeless, having no beginning or ending. My childlike faith believes that grief has to be temporary. Grief seems to have only a hindsight. Some describe it as having 20/20 vision. So in my thinking, griefs hindsight gives love a foresight. Meaning I am thankful that I have loved someone so much that I refuse to just let them go. No, I am holding on to my memories, my loving wonderful memories, regardless of the tears. Too bad grief, you are only reminding me of my love for my mom. Thanks. I will keep this in mind. Oh, and since I am a Christian, I know that I will see her again. But, it still hurts and you know it.

I pass back and forth or really am tossed between these two partners everyday, grief and love. I began to think, I have to make a decision, how am I going to live with these two? Faith has helped me make the choice. The author of Philippians writes to embrace the moment and control your thoughts. I have chosen to remember.

My attitude is gratitude

I have made a decision to be open to life. I don’t have to work hard to find wonderful memories to fill my thoughts. I had a rich life with my mom. We spent quality time together. We traveled together. We shopped and talked. I have tons of stories, pictures, smiles, and laughs to share. We had lovely days. We stopped regularly and smelled the flowers. We talked about hopeful things and we always said, “I love you”. And she deposited a legacy of divine elegance in so many. So despite it all, I am grateful to have experienced God’s love for me through my mom. I will have to pass on this love to my daughter and those around me. This is how I will celebrate her life. I will live mine to the fullest, just like she did.

I miss you mom and I love you, the same as I did last year, this time.